Autism is sometimes seen from a negative perspective. People I meet see it as a problem that has to be solved, or made better, for the person with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to get on in life as we know it.
I have been working in the realm of Autism for forty years now and I have always looked at it from a certain point of view; ‘why is your way of doing things the right way’ in other words can you explain why your routines and methods of doing things are any better than others, if you both get to the right answer. Often there is a blank look when the person I am addressing simply cannot give a solid reason for their actions, they quite simply hadn’t realised that they rely on a routines at all. Ok, perhaps your parents taught you to do things a certain way and it is only right that you carry on the sequence you were shown, but how about if you try it a different way for a change. Maybe your neighbour could show you their way of doing it, would you feel happy at the sudden change of routine? how long would you keep it up before you went back to the safe and familiar. Do you expect to be told that your way is the wrong way and that you should stop what you are doing as it isn’t acceptable? of course not, why would they do that, it takes you a bit longer to do it your way but its still good that you achieve in the end.
That’s how it is for the person with ASD who takes all morning to complete a task that may take you one hour max. Unfair isn’t it, you both got there in the end so what is the problem.
Well for some people it seems to be an issue. In my experience it seems to stem from a place of misinformation and feeling uncomfortable around the unknown, a place where the ‘norm’ is disrupted and there is a preference not to accept it in society. In my line of work where I have taken children with SLD (severe learning difficulty) out into society the biggest hardship has been the general public’s reaction to us. We carry a card to give out to anyone affected by our presence that explains why an incident has happened and a phone number for the person to contact a manager if required. We do however meet some lovely people out and about and thank goodness we do as they are so kind and thoughtful to all concerned.
Autism isn’t something to be afraid or ashamed of, it is just a different way of thinking and can be embraced in a positive way. Why shouldn’t the person feel welcome in society and why shouldn’t we all accept the fact that we are all different in this world and accommodate accordingly. There are routines and anxiety that have to be carefully managed but where in the world do you not find those.
In later posts I will explain Autism and show how it can be an enlightening and wonderful way to see the world. We could all do with looking at life through a different looking glass to find a way to understand everyone around us.
Blessings always Alison Jane.